Huskies top line of Brittany Esposito, Kendall Coyne and Casey Pickett each post goal and assist
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Junior forward Brittany Esposito had a goal and an assist for the Huskies
BOSTON, Mass. - Five different goalscorers had Northeastern on the board early and often in the Huskies' 5-1 victory over New Hampshire this afternoon at Matthews Arena.
Freshman Kendall Coyne potted her seventh goal in the last four games to open the scoring. Senior Florence Schelling made 26 saves and was only beaten amidst a six on three advantage for the Wildcats.
Like yesterday's game, a 3-3 draw at the Whittemore Center in Durham N.H., Northeastern leapt out in front with two first-period goals. Junior Kelly Wallace dished and freshman Lucie Povova weren't expecting assists when the latter innocuously attempted to dump the puck into the New Hampshire zone. The puck was deflected onto the stick of Coyne, however, and the Palos Heights, Ill. native did the rest, blitzing past Katie Brock and firing a wrist shot over Lindsey Minton's left should to put the Huskies at an early lead.
The goal was Coyne's 13th of the season and seventh in the last four games. She had scored twice in each of the last three games, and on Thursday was named WHEA Player of the Month of the month of November.
The Huskies would double their advantage five minutes later on a scrum in front of net after Minton denied sophomore Katie MacSorley's effort from the slot. Classmate Claire Santostefano had a whack at it, but both ended up with helpers when graduate tri-captain Dani Rylan banged in the rebound for her second goal of the season.
UNH nearly pulled one back shortly afterwards with a couple of breakaway chances for Kayla Mork. Mork's first attempt had Schelling beat, but as the puck skittered agonizingly towards the goal line, Santostefano arrived to bat it off the line with just centimeters to go before New Hampshire would have halved the lead.
Schelling denied Mork's second chance, a mini-breakaway early in the second period, with a deft left pad save.
After being outshot in the first period, 11-9, Northeastern put the defensive clamps on the Wildcats in the middle frame, allowing just six shots to reach Schelling. Those shots, however, did come on quality chances for New Hampshire: shortly after Mork's second missed opportunity, a giveaway in the neutral zone handed the Wildcats a two on one chance with only sophomore Maggie DiMasi back in coverage. Kristina Lavoie found Arielle O'Neill open in front, with DiMasi having committed to the former, but Schelling again was up to the task and kept UNH off the board.
Amidst a scoreless period for both sides, one of New Hampshire's better chances came after Jenna Lascelle went off for bodychecking at 4:41. Down a skater, Kristina Lavoie nevertheless broke in one on one against freshman Ann Doherty. This time, the Park Ridge, Ill. native would not let Schelling be tested further, poke-checking the puck away to end the threat.
Having stymied the UNH attack over the first two periods, Northeastern quickly set about growing their lead in the third period. Just 39 seconds in, sophomore Maggie Brennolt played junior tri-captain Casey Pickett into the New Hampshire zone with a cross-ice pass; Pickett drew the defender down low and hit classmate Brittany Esposito, whose one-timer beat Minton low and to her right to put the Huskies out of sight at 3-0.
It was a moment of exhalation for Esposito, who leads the Huskies with 12 assists but hadn't netted since Oct. 28 at Maine, a streak spanning nine games. She now has four goals on the season.
New Hampshire failed yet again to get on the board when O'Neill broke in alone on Schelling, and yet again the Swiss international stood tall in her bid for a sixth shutout on the season. Shortly thereafter, it was Coyne breaking in on the other end, but Minton was wise to her backhand deke.
The rout was on near the midpoint of the final period when MacSorley went to the box for tripping. After a fairly routine penalty kill, MacSorley left the box and immediately went to the bench for junior Siena Falino, who immediately broke for the net. Pickett hit her in stride with an inch-perfect pass for a breakaway chance. Falino hit the top right corner for her second marker of the season, and Northeastern had a 4-0 advantage.
UNH did pot a consolation goal when Pickett and sophomore Sonia St. Martin took respective slashing and hooking penalties to give the Wildcats 49 seconds' worth of two-man advantage. At 12:04, with St. Martin heading to the box, New Hampshire coach Brian Closkey called timeout and went for broke, pulling Minton in favor of an extra attacker and giving the Wildcats a six on three advantage. New Hampshire took control off the faceoff and needed just 13 seconds for Nicole Gifford to score her seventh of the season with help from Maggie Hunt and Kristine Horn.
It was the third power play goal against the Huskies in their last four games. At 4-5 today, the Northeastern penalty kill dropped from second to fourth in the nation, at 88.4% (61-69).
New Hampshire was still on the power play a minute later when McCloskey again yanked Minton to go up six on four. This time, however, the gamble did not pay off: Coyne nearly had her fourth straight two-goal game only to have the puck batted off her stick, but she regained control and found Pickett in the slot for her 11th goal of the season. It was also her fourth shorthanded goal of the year, which leads the nation.
With the assist, Coyne has now scored multiple points in four straight games. She has scored in all but one of her 15 games this season.
The Huskies will have two days off before finishing the fall semester on Wednesday night at Matthews Arena against No. 7 Boston University; puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. It will be a rematch of last Wednesday night, when Coyne scored twice and Schelling recorded her nation-leading fifth shutout as the Huskies downed the Terriers, 2-0.